Infomart Partners with DPR for Industry-Leading Innovation
CUSTOMER: Infomart Data Centers, formerly Fortune Data Centers, is an award-winning, industry leader in building, owning and operating highly efficient, cost-effective wholesale data centers. Each of its national facilities meet or exceed the toughest industry standards for data centers in all operational categories of availability, security, connectivity, and physical resilience.
ARCHITECT: Jackson-Main Architecture
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: KPFF
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: McKinstry
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Rosendin Electric
- Design-Build. The team designed systems to support using the ARDs to cool the entire space, not just for supplemental cooling.
- Amount of ARDs. The site has an unprecedented 556 ARDs—the single largest deployment to date in North America.
- Fast-Track. The team topped out the 100,000-sq.-ft. structure in six weeks, and built a weathertight electrical room in two months.
Hillsboro data center pioneers unprecedented amount of active rear door coolers for energy efficiency
Nestled amid the green hills and tall firs of Hillsboro, Oregon, are the Infomart Data Centers, a DPR design-build project that has quietly captured the attention of the industry.
What makes this project so unique is its unusually high quantity of Motivair Active Rear Doors (ARDs), hinged doors that replace the rear door of any standard or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) server rack. Not only is this project the single largest deployment of ARDs to date in North America, it also represents a uniquely innovative approach to ARD design at DPR’s second major deployment of chilled doors in North America. Many other projects use ARDs for supplemental cooling, but at Infomart, they are the primary source of cooling for the entire space, enabling the customer to move into a hyperscale data center deployment.
“We are leading the industry into the next generation of cooling technology. This is the wave in which data centers will be starting to focus the cooling source directly to the heat source,” said DPR’s Travis Bright. “To the best of our knowledge, we don’t know anyone else that has done it in this magnitude. This project is a real diving board into data center expansions, the growing Northwest market and what active rear door coolers can do.”
Some of the benefits of using ARDs:
- By actively removing 100% of the heat load at its source, ARD systems create a heat-neutral white space that requires little or no additional air conditioning.
- Because ARDs sit directly on the server rack, focusing cooling directly onto the heat source, they can achieve a high degree of efficiency over a wide set of utilization levels. The ability to adjust to the server load demand allows the servers to handle spikes in data transmission.
- Hot aisle/cold aisle configurations are eliminated, data center square footage is reduced, raised floors are optional and energy efficiency can be increased.
- ARDs require less architectural or structural changes to existing buildings, which can make projects more cost-effective. For example, unique to the Infomart project is the lack of a redundant rooftop cooling unit, as all the cooling resources are channeled through the ARDs.
- The technology of an ARD allows the use of “warmer” cooling water. High density cooling no longer requires low temperature chilled water and extended chiller operations, resulting in energy and cost savings. In addition, warmer water in the conditioned space means minimized risk of condensation, eliminating the need for insulation and saving more money for the client.
DPR’s expertise working with ARDs was a major selling point for this long-standing customer and data center wholesaler that leases space to many high-profile tech companies across the country. While other DPR data center projects have used about 70-75 ARDs for supplemental cooling, the Hillsboro site has an unprecedented 556 ARDs between two data halls to accommodate the rapid growth and the fluctuating needs of Infomart’s tenant.
Due to Infomart’s rapid growth and need for quick deployments, fast-track delivery was crucial for this design-build project, which included two phases: a 15,000-sq.-ft. data hall tenant fit-out (Data Hall A) and a 100,000-sq.-ft. greenfield building footprint (Infomart’s Portland Expansion), which includes a second 15,000-sq.-ft. data hall build (Data Hall B). The second data hall is connected to Data Hall A by structured cabling, as well as joined mechanical and electrical systems.
After Level 5 Commissioning—integrated system level testing and validation—Data Hall A was turned over to Infomart and its tenant on schedule in April. Even when faced with a record-breaking amount of rainfall this past winter, which affected exterior excavations and overall project progress, the team was able to complete Data Hall B ahead of schedule in August. Flexibility was key with shifting mechanical plans and project designs, as DPR ensured that the design of the data center fit the client’s and tenant’s long-term and short-term needs.
The project, which has taken a little over a year to build, is located about 20 minutes west of Portland. Hillsboro, in particular, has become a popular spot for data centers, with tax and utility incentives paving the way for new construction in the booming Northwest.
Pushing the envelope of industry boundaries is one of Bright’s favorite aspects of the project. “I enjoy solving these types of problems that no one has really solved before. Maybe there’s a little bit of ego—you don’t think we can do it? We’ll show you we can. And we definitely have the team to do that.”
To learn more, read the extended case study here.